"Tri-service officers" could be introduced to North Yorkshire's rural areas in candidate commissioner's new push
The man gunning to become North Yorkshire's next police, fire and crime commissioner has signalled new "three-in-one" officers capable of responding to all 999 calls could be introduced to the county's rural outposts if elected.
Philip Allott, the Conservative Party's nomination for the role, said he was interested in exploring the introduction of tri-service safety officers, which have been rolled out in other parts of the country.
"In some of the more rural parts of Yorkshire, you can actually have somebody who is a first-responder (paramedic), a reserve firefighter, and thirdly a PCSO - who could actually be funded from the three different pots," he said.
"That effectively is a great way in bringing three different roles together in a way that's great value for money, and offers great protection for the community."
Mr Allott was revealed as the Conservative's candidate in September, after incumbent commissioner Julia Mulligan announced she wouldn't contest the election after failing to gain automatic selection by the party.
It was under Mrs Mulligan's leadership the controversial move to bring overview of fire services under the police and crime commisioner's umbrella was completed, following years of the service operating at a deficit.
Mr Allott indicated he would also pursue further savings by integrating the two branches, saying it was a "no-brainer".
"I think it's factual to say Julia had a challenging term, and bringing the fire service away from the local authority has not been without difficulties, but that's now history," he said.
"There are other cost savings that can be made by police and fire services working together. It's a great opportunity to be innovative - there's no reason why police officers can't be based and work out of fire stations."
He also weighed in on the impact of County Lines drug-dealing crime in North Yorkshire, saying "more needs to be done".
"This means we've got to work more closely with education authorities, teachers, housing associations, and people like the railway police, in a partnership approach," he said.
The move is Mr Allott's latest tilt at a political post comes after two unsuccessful attempts to secure the seat of Halifax in 2010 and 2015 for the Conservative Party.
While unsuccessful in gaining a position as MP, Mr Allott did serve as a councillor at district level for Harrogate for nine years, before leaving 25 years ago to found Knaresborough-based public relations firm, Allott and Associates.
It was those skills in local government and PR that Mr Allott said he would draw upon if elected.
"One of the key things we know today is that public accountability and visibility are possibly the most important things the public sector has to provide," he said.
"There is a need to be able to communicate and reach out to the wider community - that's not just the police but the voluntary community and local authorities and the general public - and my background in PR should put me in good stead."
Elections for the PFCC will be held in May.
Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter